NEW HAVEN — Runners from across the tri-county ventured out to New Haven Elementary School bright and early Saturday morning to participate in the inaugural Trot For Trout event.
Shayla Blackshire, a New Haven Elementary teacher, said the event was planned to help raise money for a trout in the classroom program and has the added bonus of a healthy activity for community members.
“It takes a lot of money to have this program going in our school,” Blackshire said. “Last year, we had a donor to help us get the program started and the teachers have been trying to figure out a way to raise money to continue the program next year. Plus, this helps get the community involved and promotes a healthy lifestyle.”
Natalie Greene, a special education teacher, said she decided to help to make sure the trout in the classroom program continued in the upcoming years.
“All of the special education staff volunteered to help because the program is tied to our accelerated reader program, so it’s a big deal for us,” Greene said. “We are pleasantly surprised with the turnout. I think we had about 50 people pre-register for the 5K and about 20 more come and register today.
Amber Lloyd, NHES teacher, says she came up with the idea of a 5K because of their current popularity.
“My husband does a lot of 5K’s, and I know they are very popular right now, so when we found out we needed to raise some money for the trout lab, I thought what better way than with a 5K?” Lloyd said. “
The “trot” started at 8 a.m. at the entrance to the elementary school. Runners and walkers raced to the New Haven ballfields and returned to the starting line to complete the race. The event also included a children’s run beginning at the elementary school and going to the New Haven Library and back. Runners in the main 5K said they got involved to help out a cause and train for track season.
“I heard about this last night, so I thought I’d come and run,” runner Jonathan Ohlinger said. “I think it’s a good cause. I’m a fisherman, so I think it’s cool that they teach kids about the trout.”
Joe Littlepage, another runner, said he enjoyed helping out the cause.
“It’s a good fundraiser and really got people to come together for the cause.” Littlepage said. “It was also a lot of fun.”
Runner Clayton Gibbs said the run was important because of the program it supports.
“I think wildlife is important,” Gibbs said. “Without wildlife, nature wouldn’t be as it is, so we need to support everything we can to save it.”
Jacob Ortiz, who also ran in the race, said both the runners and students benefited from the race.
“My friend convinced me to participate because it would be a good way to condition for track next year,” Ortiz said. “It’s also a really good cause and the program is a great way to get kids involved with learning.”
Winners in the running category were Jonathan Ohlinger as first place overall men, as well as complete overall, and Shannon Tennant for overall women.
Winners in the walking category were John W. Ohlinger as first place overall men and Dee Ingles as first place overall women.
The event staff also gave out an award for eldest participant. Blackshire said 75-year-old Carol Dudding, a teacher’s aide, at the elementary school, walked every day in preparation for the event.
The run was followed by a spaghetti dinner at the New Haven Fire Department with the option to give donations to the cause.
Blackshire said the trout in the classroom program will start back up in October with new trout eggs. The fingerlings the students raised this past year were taken to Davis Creek in Kanawha County and set free.